BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Yarden Garzon, a freshman guard from Indiana, is more than 6,000 miles from her home in Ra’anana, Israel, but is finding a new home in the Hoosiers, where she thrives every week.
“Even though she’s a freshman from class to class, she doesn’t play like a freshman,” said Teri Moren, Indiana head coach.
“She doesn’t act like a newbie. She has a level of maturity that I don’t think I’ve had in a freshman my year – this is my 30th year as a coach.”
Just this week, Garzon was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after her performance at the Las Vegas Invitational, where she averaged 19 points, six rebounds and five assists with 50 percent from the floor.
She is smart off the field but is best known for her accuracy off the bow. She currently leads the team with 54.1 percent from Downtown from 20 three-pointers scored in eight games.
“She’s really smart on the pitch,” said senior guard Sara Scalia. “She can shoot three, pull herself up, get to the basket. She’s kind of an all-round player for us and she shows that in training.”
Garzon is the team’s third-leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points per game in a Hoosiers roster that has five players averaging double-digit points. She’s also third in total rebounds with 33, using her large 6’3-inch frame to box out and attack the boards.
How did this young player end up in Indiana?
A few years ago, Moren said an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) coach from Fort Wayne, Indiana had the opportunity to work with Garzon and told Indiana to keep an eye on the young talent.
When the staff saw her film, everyone was on deck to get the watch to sign in Indiana. Luckily, Garzon was familiar with basketball in the States because her older sister, Lior, played two seasons at Villanova and only moved to Oklahoma State this season.
“Lots of Zoom calls with Yarden and her dad, and her mom started joining the Zoom calls,” Moren said.
“We felt like she was someone who could come over here and help us right away.”
Last November, Garzon made her official visit to Indiana and got to sit in practice and then watch the No. 13 Hoosiers beat Kentucky 88-67 indoors.
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Moren asked Garzon what she thought, and she only had one complaint – the shooting was way too long for her.
“We don’t do that,” Garzon said to Moren.
Moren laughed and asked her the same question earlier this season. Coach has a special shootaround drill at the end of each practice where the team spends two and a half minutes on each side of the court to hit their best and most popular shots.
“These shootarounds – are they still exhausting?” asked Moren Garzon.
“They’re not tiring at all, they’re just too long,” Garzon said
Moren said it could give someone a glimpse of her personality, a competitor who likes to be challenged every day.
“What I love about her is that you can give her target practice and she always wants to know what the best result is,” Moren said. “That’s how competitive she is.”
Garzon is not satisfied with scoring a goal or the minimum. she wants more This could be a testament to their international gaming experience. Garzon played for the Israel senior national team in the EuroBasket 2023 qualifiers in November 2021, where she started against Latvia.
At the U20 European Challengers 2021, Garzon averaged 19.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per competition, showing her versatility in her game.
“What we found with Yarden in every practice and in every game is that you can have fun and do cool moves for them, especially when you have a player like Mack (Holmes) that’s that good,” Moren said.
With Indiana star guard Grace Berger out indefinitely with a right knee injury, Garzon needed to step up as a guard and has done so with maturity and without issue.
“We can put the ball in Yarden’s hands,” Moren said. “We can put up a high ball protection for her. We can give it to her at the pinch post. She will make a good decision. She very rarely makes the wrong decision.”
In Thursday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge top 10 showdown against North Carolina, Garzon swept a pair of triples and connected seven boards for the team’s leader in rebounds, making it look easy to knock off the tar heels.
“She’s a tough guard for people … Let’s remember she played with pros,” Moren said.
Related stories about Indiana women’s basketball
- INDIANA AWARDS HER FIRST LOSS TO NORTH CAROLINA For a top 10 Big Ten/ACC challenge, you’d think it’d be a closer game, but not when you’re the No. 5 Indiana, leading the North Carolina Tar Heels 87-63 with the senior forward Mackenzie Holmes’ 25 has finished points and junior guard Sydney Parrish’s 24. CLICK HERE
- HOOSIERS PLAY UNC IN TOP 10 MATCHUP Two undefeated top 10 teams from North Carolina and Indiana will battle it out indoors for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge crown. Read more about how you can watch who commands each team’s offense and how the Hoosiers will go on without one of their best players, Grace Berger. CLICK HERE
- GRACE BERGER OFF INDEFINITELY Indiana women’s basketball head coach Teri Moren said senior guard Grace Berger is out indefinitely with a right knee injury. Berger is day-to-day and will not play in the UNC game on Thursday. CLICK HERE
- HOLMES & GARZON DESERVE BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS Indiana basketball forwards Mackenzie Holmes and Yarden Garzon become the first duo to be named Big Ten Player of the Week since the 2009-10 season. CLICK HERE